Build Your Leaders

Archive for the ‘personal growth. spirituality’ Category

How to Win People Over

July 1st, 2013

Jackie Onassis had it, so did Pamela Harriman. Hugh Downs and Bill Clinton have it, too.

Charm can be a communicator’s secret weapon. With it, we can communicate with anyone.  We can win others to our side.

By using these five tips, you can put the power of charm to work in your own life.

One: Focus.  Nothing is as important in developing charm as the ability to communicate with a person as if he or she was the only person in the room.

Someone asked Queen Victoria once whether she preferred the company of Benjamin Disraeli or William Gladstone. She answered that when she dined with Gladstone she felt he was the most interesting man in England, but when she ate with Disraeli she felt she was the most interesting person in the world.

Like Disraeli, we can put our egos aside and focus on the other person. We can make a conscious effort to put others’ wants and needs before our own, and one way we can do it is to ask questions.

“Questions are the sparkplugs of conversation,” says Nicholas Boothman in his book, How To Make People Like You.  Through questions, we learn where another’s passion lies, and when we show interest in another’s passion, we are well on our way to establishing rapport.

Questions are only as effective as our ability to listen, and key to listening is providing feedback. “Feedback,” says Ken Blanchard, co-author of the The One-Minute Manager and other motivational books, “is the breakfast of champions.”

Tony Alessandra, Ph.D., is his book Charisma, offers these four suggestions for providing proper feedback:

  1. Offer verbal responses such as “Hmmm,” “Really?” and “Wow.”
  2. Provide acknowledging gestures such as smiling, nodding and leaning forward.
  3. Make clarifying remarks that restate the speaker’s points.
  4. Establish eye contact.

Eye contact is also important in establishing credibility. In one study, speakers who are rated “sincere” looked at their audiences an average of three times longer than speakers ranked “insincere.”

Two: Help people feel good about themselves.  Find something – anything — you can like about a person. People can sense if we like them.

Begin by looking at people with empathy, and give everyone the benefit of the doubt. F. Scott Fitzgerald is reported to have once said that the greatest gift you can give anyone is to see him or her exactly as he wishes to be seen.

Three:  Smile.  Pianist and comedian Victor Borge once described a smile as the “shortest distance between two people.” Anyone can smile, but a sincere smile shows in our eyes and can light up a room.

Four:  Remember the details. Charming people remember the details. Charmers remember names and those other details most of us are quick to forget. Keep notes if you need help remembering.

Top salespeople maintain customer files. By referring to their files, these salespeople are able to refresh their memories and demonstrate a personal interest in their clients’ lives.

Five:  Be energetic, enthusiastic and positive. People who possess personal magnetism are usually self-confident optimists. Be upbeat, sing praises, and freely give appreciation.   Energy, enthusiasm and a positive attitude are contagious.

In summary, charm can be learned, but it still must be earned. Sincerity and warmth cannot be faked; they must come from within. When we are naturally charming, we are at our communications best.

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Getting Goals Wright

May 6th, 2013

Architect Frank Lloyd Wright liked to share a story from his childhood that he said helped shape his philosophy of life. When he was nine years old, he went walking across a snow-covered field with his rigid, reserved uncle. When the two of them reached the far end of the field, his uncle stopped him and pointed out their tracks in the snow. The uncle’s were straight as a line while young Frank’s tracks meandered all over the field.

“Notice how your tracks wander aimlessly from the fence to the cattle to the woods and back again,” his uncle observed. “And see how mine aim directly at my goal.”

Years later Wright would say, with a twinkle in his eye, “I determined right then, not to miss most things in life as my uncle had.”

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Become a Better Person: The 90/10 Rule

January 2nd, 2013

Nothing spotlights sagging self-esteem stronger than when people judge others. Growing up, I was the supreme judge. A fat kid (I had to wear “Husky” brand pants), I constantly put down others in an attempt to pull myself up.

Looking back, I had good teachers; my family members were masters in the art of judgment. Around the dinner table, we would take turns picking on and judging one another. It got so bad during one Sunday supper that my brother’s new bride fled the dining room; our cruelty had reduced her to tears.

Teachers used to preach, “If you don’t have anything nice to say, then don’t say anything.”   Even when I don’t verbalize judgments, I subtly communicate them and damage relationships.

I now know that judging serves me poorly. My judgments separate me from others, and above all I want connection in my life. I also know that self-esteem is an inside job; it must come from within, not by putting people down.

When judgments bubble up, they must be examined. Writers Carol Kurtz Walsh and Tom Walsh recommend applying “The 90/10 Rule.”  When judgment rears its serpent-like head and we experience a strong negative emotional reaction to another, assume that only 10 percent of our reaction is based upon the situation, leaving a whopping 90 percent that belongs to past.

When we consider the psychological principles of projection and transference, the Walshes’ counsel makes sense. A projection is something that we don’t want to accept about ourselves, so we bury it and then observe it someone else. Years ago, I was in a men’s support group in Atlanta. One man in the group drove me crazy. He was so emotional; he cried at the drop of a hat. Several years later when I began to experience my own shut-down emotions, I was able to reclaim my projection.

Transference occurs when we assign traits to someone that really belong to someone else, and nowhere is transference more apparent than in our primary relationships. I used to transfer negative traits belonging to my mother and father onto my romantic partners until I read the eye-opening imago work of Harville Hendrix, Ph.D. Hendrix’s research shows that we seek partners who have the predominant character traits of the people who raised us. He believes that we do this subconsciously in an attempt to heal old childhood wounds.

Old habits are hard to break. Although my self-esteem is much stronger than it once was, I still catch myself becoming judgmental toward a person or situation at times. When I do, I try to remember the 90/10 Rule and these wise words: “When you point your finger at someone else, there are four fingers pointing back at you.”

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Facing Fear

February 2nd, 2012

Do you usually say yes to life’s invitations? Monhegan Island, Maine, could be one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited, yet when a friend asked me to hike its rocky cliffs my first response was to say no.

Whatever the question, no is often my immediate response.

Do you want to take a walk?

How about a bike ride by the river?

What would you think about checking out that new museum?

It seems to be a knee-jerk reaction on my part, but when I dig a little deeper, I discover fear. There’s a thin layer of fear that surrounds almost every new experience. When I name, feel, and face it, fear loses its intensity, and I find the courage to say yes.

I go on the walk, take a bike ride, or visit the museum, and I’m almost always rewarded. I see a beautiful vista, feel the pride of accomplishment, or learn something new.

Taking the path of least resistance leads to complacency. It may be safe, but the scenery seldom changes. When I get off my butt, face my fears, and just do it, I fuel the engines that energize my life.

When life issues an invitation I am learning to consider saying yes before no. Life is most likely offering me a lovely present, but I need to show up to receive it.

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